Film seen in October 2020 in Paris.
Selected by Denmark to represent the country at the 2021 Oscar, Druk – Another Round (Druk) is an intoxicating tragedy for the celebration of life, which premieres on March 25 in Brazil. It is impossible to feel indifferent in the face of the daring scenario, invented by Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm, about a group of forty-year-old friends in existential crisis. Eight years after the reflection and success of The Hunt (2012), the duo reunite with the majestic Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and deliver an intoxicating, seductive and above all impeccable masterpiece.
If the number of adjectives seems exaggerated, the Vinterberg orchestra to plunge the public into the nebulous and redemptive trajectory of four high school teachers is worthy of hyperbole. With a bold premise, Druk develops his narrative based on the experimentation of a scientific hypothesis, which proposes that the permanence of 0.05% alcohol in the blood guarantees better performance both professionally and personally. Now who doesn’t want to experience a better version of themselves? The provocation is obvious.
Based on this argument, the plot asks if in order to be better people we would need additives, just like a machine needs oil in the gears. To test this claim, the guinea pigs will be Professors Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe). Longtime friends, the group finds itself apathetic about life, work, family and even the body itself is a burden to bear.
From a dismal party dinner at 40, Nikolaj puts the idea of this article on the table with his friends, as a strategy to escape the lethargy that plagues them. At first, in a moderate way, they begin to work with a few doses of vodka. The first indications are satisfactory. Martin, for example, goes from a boring teacher to a dynamic and captivating historian. In class, he promotes a game about how moralism blinds our choices. By presenting behavioral profiles, the “exemplary” moral political leader is revealed to be the most bloodthirsty in modern history.
The same provocation permeates the screen with images of world leaders, such as ex-presidents Bill Clinton (US) and Nicolas Sarkozy (France), as well as Soviet Leonid Brezhnev and Russian Boris Yeltsin. The confrontation over legal narcotics progresses as the behavior of the four friends begins to disrupt their activities and cause tragic laughter. The question of the film, however, is not a debate about alcohol consumption, but how to live life, from what perspective and how to find that path. Drinking would therefore be a tool in the logic of “the end justifies the means”.
Very early on, Thomas Vinterberg devoted the first seconds of the screen to a festive competition between teenagers in the city. They run, drink, carry cartons of beer, splash around and celebrate the satisfaction of having fun. This euphoria bursting with beer froths and bursts of laughter parallels the 40th anniversary ceremony in a fine restaurant. In fact, the contrast of situations asks how the joy of being alive gets lost along the way.
Married with two teenage children, Martin begins talking to his wife and spending time with his children. Surprised by the sudden change, the family is reluctant to accept this “new” Martin. Thus, he realizes that there is a bridge to be built after years of abstinence of courage; now provided by the drink. Tommy, meanwhile, finds the satisfaction of being a school coach; but also the pain of empty days next to your dog. As Peter grapples with his daily cowardice towards work, Nikolaj seeks to establish purpose by raising children. The end point of the test is different for everyone; sometimes sad, moving, sometimes overwhelming and splendid.
Mads Mikkelsen is charming. Her performance in the final scene is to put a smile on the faces of the most devastated and pessimistic people. Listening to Scarlet Pleasure’s song What a Life, Mikkelsen reverberates the turmoil of her character’s feelings and presents her cry of longing for bodily freedom.
The merits of Druk – One More Round are to close the doors of Manichaeism and moral lessons on alcohol, while making us reflect in a sensitive and festive way the gift of having a life to appreciate. After the director’s personal tragedy during the production of the film in 2019, next to the year 2020, where death was present in all media, Druk is a discursive and imaginary power of appreciation of the present.
See also: 🍻 DRUK – ONE MORE ROUND is one of the BEST movies of 2020! 🍺
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